Leveraging the gig economy is a growing organisational trend. Its integration into the financial services future workforce model is likely to continue to increase, as women (and men as well) look for greater opportunities to design the work lives they want and as firms seek to leverage key talent from a variety of sources.

But there’s a catch. As I explained in my previous post, the gig economy presents both benefits and drawbacks to women, and the potential risk of impeding gender parity. If the gig economy is going to work well for everyone, financial services firms must pay close attention to how they manage their own gig workforce to ensure it’s a gender parity enabler and not a gender parity impediment. In this post, I’ll share some ways financial services HR professionals can help their firms enable gender parity within their own gig workforce, and why that’s a good thing for women and the financial services firms they work for.

The gig economy as a financial services strategic imperative

There are two high-level reasons for the financial services industry to adopt the gig workforce model:

  1. Flexibility and agility are essential capabilities in today’s dynamic economy. Firms must be able to respond to changing market needs and customer requirements. Drawing from a diverse and easily accessible workforce is a critical capability in meeting these demands.
  2. The employee experience should match the customer experience. As a service-oriented industry, financial services firms must be able to offer their customers flexibility and personalisation. Offering similar benefits to their workforce creates an aligned business model.

HR representatives and the firms they support will need to adopt new strategies for addressing the future workforce, including how to best integrate the gig economy (or the “expanded workforce”) into the future workforce model. Inclusiveness across the model is critical, which means treating all your employees equally. One of the key takeaways from strategy development for the future workforce is that gender parity initiatives must apply to gig workers— just as they do to the regular workforce.

Steps to take toward creating an inclusive gig economy workforce

Here are some actions HR representatives can take to help their organisations ensure the gig economy is a gender parity enabler and not a gender parity impediment:

  • Engage and apply artificial intelligence as a tool for eliminating gender bias in recruiting and talent management.
  • Recognise the gig economy as an opportunity to gender-balance the organisation and deliberately seek out qualified female freelance talent.
  • Champion the employee experience across all employee types (gig and in-house).
  • Strive for awareness of any gender parity issues that arise within the freelance and contract workforce and take immediate corrective action.

There is clearly opportunity for financial services firms to use the gig economy to not only improve business performance but also to accelerate the drive to gender parity by being sensitive to potential obstacles.

All that being said, the gig economy is a relatively new development. Enterprises are likely wrestling with the best way to capitalise on it to achieve financial performance objectives without undermining other initiatives, such as promoting gender parity. Which leads to the question: what else do you think HR professionals can do to make sure the gig economy is good for financial services firms and good for women too? Feel free to share your comments here.

For more information on creating a strategy for the future workforce, please see Shaping the Adaptive Financial Services Workforce of the Future, and Liquid Workforce: Bank on “fluid” teams focused on results. 

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